This morning, instead of doing my usual routine of jogging around the park for 45 minutes, I woke up early and decided to drive up Provo Canyon. As I drove, the sun was just peeking over the top of the mountains. I saw people running on the Murdock trail, I passed the graveyard and noticed several people enjoying the morning air as they strolled around a soccer field. I parked at the mouth of the canyon and began jogging. I walked and jogged intermittently. I said “Good morning” to each person who made eye contact with me. Lots of people were on the river trail – young, old, fit, flabby.
I thought of a recent conversation I’d had with my son. He’s a Marine and in Officer Training School right now. A few weeks ago I asked him why he wanted to become an officer. He told me about being treated poorly by several officers he’d served under and then told me his view of what will make him different. "I don't hold it against others for not being as far along the path as I am." He explained that we all have to take the same steps and learn the same lessons and that it doesn't make any sense to judge someone for where they are along the path. That is some pretty great wisdom right there! Remembering this thought helped me not be hard on myself as I exercised but to just enjoy the moment.
On the way up the canyon I noticed a little paved path that headed east. I was curious but kept on jogging. On the way back my brain said, “You’re over 50. Sometimes we don’t get second chances. Go explore what that path leads to!” I’m brave and adventurous. I like to try new things. The path went around a little building and then led to Canyon View Park. Along the pavement was a long strip of beautiful, tall, thick green grass. I stopped jogging and decided to lie on the soft grass. I stared up at the sky for a few minutes and said my morning prayer. When I walked to the end of the path and around the round-about
I remembered having a family outing at that very spot a couple of years ago - playing Bocce Ball on the grass and cooking marshmallows for s’mores. The sprinklers interrupted my thoughts. I was grateful that I’d chosen to lie in the grass as soon as I saw it instead of “on the way back” to the trail.
A man greeted me by saying “Buenas Dias” – he was obviously as Caucasian as I am. I responded, “Habla Espanól?” We started conversing in Spanish. He asked if I’d served a mission. I told him that
I served in Bolivia and Perú. He’d served as a mission President in South America and just returned from serving a temple mission in Bolivia. It was a wonderful exchange. He was delightful. As we parted,
I noticed that I felt good about myself and good about life.
I glanced up and saw sparrows soaring overhead; they looked like the kind of paper airplanes my Dad used to make. On my left were huge bushes with wispy flowers on them that looked like white jellyfish. I felt the soft canyon breeze across my face. I walked all the way back - no jogging, just relaxing and taking in the incredible beauty of the morning.
I’m learning to be gentle with myself, to slow down, take my time and notice the world around me. I’ve started giving myself permission to breathe, think, feel and savor the moment.
The frantic pace of my busy life sometimes really drains me. I must remember to just “be”, to have compassion for myself and for others.
I consciously give myself a break instead of always pushing, striving, achieving and accomplishing. I try to remember that I don’t have to earn my worth. I am loved, valued and cherished exactly as I am. I don’t have to do anything or be anything different. I am enough.
Being in nature helps me center; grounds me to truth and reality. I’m glad that I woke up early and took advantage of the opportunity to be in the crisp morning air so I could remember to slow down. I will feel more comfortable in my own skin today because of my morning meditation and be gentler with myself and others because I got my thinking aligned with truth. All is well with the world. I am awake and alive. I will accept and allow every good thing that comes my way today. All is well. All is well.